Several family members and their huge houses - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I totally understand what you are saying. I don't envy the brand new homes in developments but DH's aunt just built (themselves no builder) a log cabin in the country. THAT I an jealous of, not in a bad way but before we got married DH drew up the plans for our dream home. A little log cabin. His aunts house it really close to our drawing!

I don't like the new homes, they are built bad (coming from friends who have bought them and are dissapointed) and I think for some it is a status thing. We have a old home, not but not small and needs tons of work but it is home and we love it.

I do like to look at houses and try to get ideas for when I get to build my cabin but most homes don't have anything I can use lol

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#32 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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My sister just bought a million dollar home that's like, 5200 square feet and I live in a decent but modest 3-brm bungalow with a dated kitchen and weird basement so...I feel your pain.

She and her husband totally out earn me and mine. By like, a factor of 5. She's in a better field, but she also works really hard AND knows how to bargain. She's also moved around a lot to get new opportunities - like to different countries.

My husband and I work really hard but we're the people who don't negotiate contracts well and end up doing a lot of the behind the scenes work while others get more kudos. I don't know if I'm explaining this right. We work like entrepreneurs but we don't take risks like them, nor do we end up compensated like successful ones.

But I like my house and the lack of guilt and the not needing to clean all that. And, if our good fortune (and I do mean good fortune) continues we'll be paid off in about 10 years and that will be nice. I like my life pretty well. So, hey. Go visit and enjoy the jacuzzi tubs, I say!

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#33 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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We live in a 1904 Sears house. There is constantly work due to the age of the house. Any house is work, but it is just more with an older home.

We are in our 40's and within the next 5 yrs plan to build our "forever house". This house is two stories, steep steps, all bedrooms upstairs and we have a lot of acreage. We will build a one level with open loft for kids and less acreage but still in the country.

Do we want the mcmansion even if we could afford it? no. I get easily overwhelmed with cleaning and keeping things neat. We want to build a nicer house to have an easier life. Its going to be as maintainence free as possible.

And we want a user friendly floor plan. Wide hallway, main floor utility room, lots of storage. Fancy heck no.
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#34 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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I think liking and bein ga bit jealous of what others have is human nature. We all are guilty of it. You'd be surprised at what one person may covet and want and it may be very different than what you would think.

I have a pretty large home. Its an old house (1912) and needs work that we've been doing for the past 6 years. I couldn't live in a small house, I need my space, BUT I envy so many of them. Less cleaning, less heating costs, less electricity. There are good an bad of both and I don't think one is better than the other. House size is a very personal choice and preference. My BIL and SIL recently moved nearer to us and we stayed over at thier new house. They have a smallish (1950s) house and we literally were tripping over each other in it with our 3 kids. BUT, I was constantly finding myself saying "Oh, I love THAT!" (especially their new bathroom!) The size means nothing, it fits them perfectly and I still love so much about thier new home. I could probably fit 3 of thier house in mine, but it doesn't make mine any better nor do I look down on them because of it.

House size doesn't mean anything about accomplishments. And many people take on far more house than they can afford as well! I think an accomplishment is buying a home that fits your family and is in your budget without feeling the need to out-do the Joneses.

And just because someone has a large house doesn't mean they make more money or are more well off. That's a HUGE pet peeve of mine! We live on a street in town which is considered the "historic" ave. The houses are larger and were owned by the "wealthy" back when the town was booming. Its where the lumber barons and business owners lived. Thus it has a reputation even now. People ASSUME we have money, we most definitely DON'T! We paid peanuts for our home, our mortgage was less than our car payment when we bought it and we put %0 down. It needed a lot of work and TLC. I had a neighbor behind us on a side street snipe a comment about how the people on our ave shouldn't complain about street repairs because we can afford it. Um, no. Dude, Dh has been off work for a year and a half getting unemployment (which is squat - he took the opportunity to go back to school to retrain though) and I work part time. We live paycheck to paycheck just like everyone else. We have 3 kids and are both full time college students as well. The ONLY reason we have this large of a house is because it needed the work so we found it at a steal. It cost half the price of houses we looked at half the size even.

So the point is, don't let something like house size bug you. Your house is YOURS, it is unique to you and I'm sure there are things about your house they are probably envious of as well!

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#35 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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I definitely would love some of the things about a newer house - the modern closet or the modern style of bathroom. I have standard 1950's style closets and bathrooms and they are *cute* and tiny. But some of my friends envy my house's little nooks and crannies - I have a whole mechanical room under the stairs and a laundry room. Modern houses don't have wasted spaces like that. Sometimes it's good to remember what you take for granted is envied by someone else.
That said, I wish that all the projects were done! There's no siding around the new windows. There is a curtain-moving-strength draft in front of the single pane windows that haven't been replaced. It needs paint. The yard is...uh, unkept-ish.
If I won the lotto (uh, would have to play first), I'd still live here, but all the projects would be done. I'd stay in a cat-friendly hotel while craftspeople worked 40 hours a week until it was all done. Tada!

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#36 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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Also, it always seems like people who make a lot of money (I'm talking a lot) who aren't, I don't know actors or musicians or sports stars, probably made their money off other people in a way I might not be comfortable making money. Some of the richest people in our world are some of the least ethical. That's not a given, but it seems to be a rule in general. Given that, it seems like big houses and fancy cars should indicate shadiness more often than success.
I wish you wouldn't generalize like that because it truly isn't accurate.

I'm surrounded by neighbors who have tried to make a difference, who employ hundreds or thousands of people, who take risks so that others benefit. Sure, we have some of the kind of people you mention (3 doors down is a Madam. Oh yes, that kind. She's reformed now but, yeah.

My husband is currently fighting against politics and unions to bring grocers to grocery deserts. He's been working 10 months so far without one penny in payment. If he's successful, yes, there will be a substantial monetary profit to us. But it is a huge risk that may not ever pay out. Beyond our profit, think of all the people who will finally be able to walk to the corner and buy an apple. That is HUGE if you live in an area without access to fresh produce and no car. Think about the thousands of jobs he'll be creating. Think about the vacant lots and vacant buildings that will be cleared, made safe and have businesses built who will start paying taxes to the city to benefit everyone. Think about the established rules and boundaries he is working to destroy so others can do the same.

Generalizing the wealthy as evil doers may be socially accepted to some but it doesn't make it right.
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#37 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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I feel like their homes are a sign of their accomplishments in life which is frustrating because dh and I work so hard.
I know a few other people already responded to this bit, but my immediate reaction to it was this: Perhaps their big homes are a sign of their willingness to go way into debt and sacrifice time doing more important things than working to make the money it takes to pay the mortgage.

Good friends of ours bought a huge, gorgeous Victorian in a desirable Boston suburb a few years ago. After watching them settle into this extravagant house, I've realized that the extravagant mortgage forces them to work ALL THE TIME. They are caught up in the status race and are losing sight of what really matters to be happy. We have a very nice house ourselves, with lots of land (and nowhere near Boston, thank goodness. We lived there for years and are NOT city people!), but our mortgage is probably a fifth of theirs because we did most of the work building our house ourselves and built things up gradually. I'm sure people see our home and think we have way more money than we do.
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#38 of 57 Old 08-08-2010, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everyones perspectives. I've been home battling shingles and I guess feeling a little "woe is me". I grew up in a large old home that my parents poured their time and money into. It's a beautiful, one of a kind place. It's basically my parents pride and joy. They give everyone tours. They are very judgemental about other peoples' homes. Picking apart the craftsmanship, design, cleanliness. I do not want to live in a showpiece, nor do I want to spend the time and money it takes to create one.
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#39 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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There is so much luck involved in houses.

We have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath with a tiny yard. My sister has 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths and a large yard. The major kicker is her house cost $70K less than ours.

The sole reason her house is so much bigger for less money is that we live 15 minutes from NYC and she lives 45 from Philly. It's pure luck that she works outside of Philly but DH works in midtown Manhattan.

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#40 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 04:26 AM
 
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Sometimes its just all in the timing -- we paid $430,000 for our home several years ago and the homes on our street are selling for almost a million now. We couldnt afford to buy our own home right now!

THere was a $100,000 spread between the home we sold and the one we are in now -- however -- to do that same transaction now there would be more like a $400,000 spread..... timing is everything :-)
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#41 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 09:01 AM
 
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There is so much luck involved in houses.

We have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath with a tiny yard. My sister has 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths and a large yard. The major kicker is her house cost $70K less than ours.
So true. A house on our street is for sale and it doesn't have nearly as nice a yard (half of it is under brush which would need massive city permits to remove-and you'd want to remove this brush and it's on a steep slope), not fenced, no sheds and we have a pool-not that we were looking for one. It's about 500sqft larger, but not as well laid out as mine (IMO ) and otherwise comparable in terms of fixtures and features. They are listing it for +200K more than what we paid for our house 2 years ago! I could have died. DH simply said "Well, I hope they get it, sets good precedent if we ever decide to sell." I never thought of it that way.

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#42 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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[ threadjack ]

Oh my....this is obviously more of an issue than any of us may think. It is the topic of the Spongebob that is on right now. Squidward's brother has a much nicer house than him.



[ / threadjack over ]
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#43 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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Some of my sibs have much nicer houses, too. And yes, I'm a little jealous. I'd like to have a bigger and nicer house, and when I get back from visiting them, I'm always a little blue.

Otoh, the sister with the nicest house has a husband who is working all the time. All the time. When they were raising kids, she couldn't count on him to do anything. My younger sister, who also has a nicer house, has very little saved for retirement, or her kids' education. I think in some ways she regrets having the huge house.

Both dh and I have jobs that let us spend a lot of time with the kids. He's a teacher and is with them all summer. We also are pretty disciplined about saving for retirement. I wouldn't sleep nights if we didn't.
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#44 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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I get this a lot with my dad. For him, home ownership in the suburbs was the way to say to all the people in the old neighborhood, hey, I made it.

Dh and I bought a house when we were 27. It was small and it was ours. But I had to go back to work when ds was 4 months old and we struggled to make ends meet. When we moved we sold it and decided to rent. We've lived in our rental for 7 years and are very happy here. I hear about throwing away money on rent all the time. I hear that kids need a backyard (apparently the woods and the lake we live on aren't enough), I should have "Insert whatever my sister has here". But you know, she's gone 6 am to 6pm every week, she has no savings and never sees her kids. She has two car payments and a mortgage and had to file bankruptcy last year. She's miserable inside, but damn, she's got the stuff life is made of.

So you know, I just don't care what other people have. I always think "at what cost" when we make a choice. What will it cost us to do something? It's not just about money though. We could do a lot more, I could work, dh could take a better paying job. But then the kids are with a sitter, we have to move, we have to save less. Those are the things that matter to us and we're happy with the choices we make.
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#45 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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I just spent a weekend away with my BFF, and we were kind of talking about this. She rents a smallish house with her partner, has a modest-paying job to pay the bills while she focuses on her art career, and travels internationally fairly frequently. I own a mid-sized house with my DH and 2 kids, have a decent-paying job, and pretty much never travel beyond these couple-times-a-year weekends away with her or my mom.

She brought up how hard it is for her sometimes to see all her friends married and owning homes. And I told her how hard it is for me sometimes to see my more "free" friends being able to travel, go out to a nice quiet dinner several times a week, spend lots of time on passions like art, etc. It's just a different lifestyle, and there are great parts and hard parts to both.

Anyway, all that to say that I can totally understand that knee-jerk impulse to compare and feel inferior, but there are probably aspects of your life that make other people envious too. I don't think most people walk around feeling perfectly self-satisfied and superior all the time. That whole "don't judge your insides by other people's outsides" thing. It's hard though!

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#46 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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I am sorry you are feeling that way. It is natural as it is hard not to compare, as that seems to be in human nature. Especially for people with competitive personalities. There will always be others with more. This is life.
Just share in their joy, don't take that joy away from them.
Everything comes at a cost, everything has a price. We have to make decisions about this cost and price every day. Sometimes money can cost too much. But sometimes people can make it work just fine for them, some people would rather have "x" than "x". It is crazy how people can be so different.
I would be sad if people judged me for the house I live in, when I was sharing the space and wanted someone to share in my joy, in my life with friends/family judgements come freely, but also so does love. I started to not care about judgements so much, and life has been a lot better since that ah ha moment It is a constant work in progress, but it is so freeing to just do the best I can and be very proud of that.

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#47 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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So many assumptions on this thread: if you have a big house -

You leave your babies to CIO because you're working so hard for your lifestyle;

you're drowning in debt and/or can barely afford your payments;

you've made your money in ways that nice, ethical people would find appalling;

someone gave you the money;

you're just lucky, not hardworking.

Seriously?! All these comments in the same posts where people are advising the *OP* not to feel jealous?!

Jane
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#48 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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We live in a 3 bdr apartment amidst mini- mansions in a very well off neighborhood. I think we've got the best deal. We get the best schools and amenities and live cozy & simply. Also we can afford to have weekly cleaners. That's all I care about.

Oh yea--- and my family owns big homes. We go over and enjoy. Then come home and enjoy. It's all good.
this is my dream.

We live in a 3000sqft+ home. You never know what might be going on in somone elses home that they feel they the space. We live with our MIL, and I know my parents each 'need' a bedroom.

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#49 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bethla View Post
Thanks for everyones perspectives. I've been home battling shingles and I guess feeling a little "woe is me". I grew up in a large old home that my parents poured their time and money into. It's a beautiful, one of a kind place. It's basically my parents pride and joy. They give everyone tours. They are very judgmental about other peoples' homes. Picking apart the craftsmanship, design, cleanliness. I do not want to live in a showpiece, nor do I want to spend the time and money it takes to create one.
Oh, I identify with this quite a bit, though my take is a little different.

My mom was a very talented woman who enjoyed maintaining a nice home. She painted, wallpapered, tiled, gardened, refurbished the bathrooms, hung drapes, made drapes, refinished oodles of furniture, upholstered furniture... She was seriously talented this way and it's where her passion was. I got to adulthood thinking I was supposed to know how to sew like a demon, that I was supposed to want to reupholster couches and I was supposed to want to put up wallpaper.

I'm 42 y.o. and I only just realized, like in the last year or so, that I'm not particularly lazy, I'm just totally not interested in decorating my house in such a labor-intensive way. Mom enjoyed doing this stuff, I do not. I've only recently taken the moral equation out of it: it's not a character defect that I don't want to spend my every spare minute improving the house. Actually, I'm sure I'll never get that completely out of my head, but that's OK.

This kind of relates to the 'Stay Busy to Relax' thread, because if my mom judged me with regard to this issue, it was because she always liked to have a project going on. She rarely sat and read a book. She'd watch TV and fold clothes or knit or sort photos or build something amazing. It's was pretty intimidating.

See my signature.

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[ threadjack ]

Oh my....this is obviously more of an issue than any of us may think. It is the topic of the Spongebob that is on right now. Squidward's brother has a much nicer house than him.

[ / threadjack over ]


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#50 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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So many assumptions on this thread: if you have a big house -

You leave your babies to CIO because you're working so hard for your lifestyle;

you're drowning in debt and/or can barely afford your payments;

you've made your money in ways that nice, ethical people would find appalling;

someone gave you the money;

you're just lucky, not hardworking.

Seriously?! All these comments in the same posts where people are advising the *OP* not to feel jealous?!

Jane

Exactly what I was thinking...

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#51 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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Hold on here!

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So many assumptions on this thread: if you have a big house -someone gave you the money;
OK, with this point, I thought the writer was stating a fact, about themselves. They were able to buy a house, in part because someone gifted them some money.

Frankly, that's how we were able to afford our first, tiny house: my mom gifted us (that's the industry term, I believe) $5000. I think gifting to help someone get a home isn't that uncommon.

And I think whomever mentioned gifting, their intention was to be reassuring.

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#52 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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I understand house envy! DH's cousin is married to a contractor, and they have both the money and the know-how to constantly add on to and beautify their home, in addition to affording for her to SAHM. We come home to our falling-apart house with the weedy yard (all we can afford due to a dumb financial mistake), and I wonder what the heck DH and I have to show for both of our jobs!

But you know what helped me appreciate what we do have? A few months ago, the woman in question asked how our wedding anniversary had been. I told her we couldn't afford a date this year, but DH had deep-cleaned the entire kitchen for me. She just about turned green with envy, and vented about how her DH NEVER helps with housework. Her DH works 60+ hrs a week, and really doesn't get much time with the kids. My DH may not make enough $$ to afford a nice house like theirs, or have the motivation/ambition to fix up our house, but he is around to do the baths every night and most of the cooking too!

I realized that, while I might envy her lovely home, she envies the fact that my DH is around so much more than hers. I have it pretty good, even though sometimes it's hard to see it that way.

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#53 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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Hold on here!

OK, with this point, I thought the writer was stating a fact, about themselves. They were able to buy a house, in part because someone gifted them some money.

Frankly, that's how we were able to afford our first, tiny house: my mom gifted us (that's the industry term, I believe) $5000. I think gifting to help someone get a home isn't that uncommon.

And I think whomever mentioned gifting, their intention was to be reassuring.
Yes a lot of those "assumptions" were simply facts stated in specific cases from peoples personal experience.

We also received our down payment on our house as a gift. It was a wedding present from my mom. Came with a few strings attached to. It certainly doesn't mean we aren't a hard working family though. It just means that the same hard work we used to put into paying rent now goes to building equity.

Also getting lucky doesn't mean not working hard. I mentioned that my sister was luckier than us b/c she and her DP got a larger house for less money b/c they live in a less expensive area. She and her DP made about the same as Dh and I did. In fact my sister and Dh are in the same field with very similar jobs and make almost the same amount. She was luckier though in that her hard work happened to pay off in a larger house than our same hard work did.

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#54 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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Well, we have an awesome house, but we don't own it. And we work REALLY hard to afford rent. I dream of owning land someday... sometimes I almost crawl out of my skin with wanting that, but really? We are so lucky to even have a house to live in and not have to live with either of our sets of parents right now. On top of that, our house is amazing, plenty of room, on acerage, on the river. I try to look at it this way: bigger houses = more bills. And, the bigger the house, the worse it is for the environment (in general).

So, I try to be comforted by those things. But, OP, I totally hear you

Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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#55 of 57 Old 08-09-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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I think I mentioned luck too. My husband would describe himself as the luckiest person on the planet. It doesn't take away from his achievements. But yes, sometimes business deals, opportunities, meeting the right person at the right time is pure luck. He worked hard, crazy hard for 14 years, as did I. He was able to sell his business 2 years ago. The fact that we decided to sell the business before the economy went to pot was a little lucky too, we saw the writing on the wall, but finding a willing buyer that we could live with was a culmination of work, recognizing opportunity and a pinch of luck. I'm sorry if you took that to mean something about your life, I am only describing our own experiences.

That said, I too have found some of the assumptions a little much. I spent a good 20 minutes writing a defense for our lives against those assumptions, but I just decided against it. None of them are true and if folks need to make them, so be it.

Don't trust anyone under 5! Mom to 3 boys under 5. Blogging to save my sanity.
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#56 of 57 Old 08-10-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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I have a big house, but now we all wish we had a smaller house with a nicer yard. I still take walks and look at all the houses which seem so much cooler than mine.
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#57 of 57 Old 08-10-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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This thread reminds me of a favorite quote:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
by Eleanor Roosevelt.


We live in a big enough house. Its big enough for us to have a nice larger master bedroom we remodeld including laying new hardwood floors with a bathroom we remodeled.

Its big enough where both girls have their own room or can sleep in one room and do whatever in the other. They also have their own bathroom they share. Again remodeled.

Its big enough that we an extra 4th bedroom downstairs with a full bath (that needs to be redone by us sooner than later) and guests can stay there.
The room is filled with extra furniture and a freecycle find double bed. The sheets were given to us by my parents when we took the other double bed
dd1 sleeps on. All new, but they bought a queen size bed for the room the double was in.

We have a big enough brand new kitchen we put in. Because we did it ourselves, we could afford to splurge on a high end stove, esp since we love cooking and entertaining. We always have someone at our house either to play, dinner, coffee whatever.

We have a big enough yard that has a large rainbow system bought for $250 from a friend whose kids outgrew it. Thankfully my very handy DH could go over, take it down and then bring to our house and put back up. My kids and the neighborhood kids all love playing on it.

But this house was just enough and its a just enough mortgage for a family that drives 2 paid off cars and has a sahmom for almost 10 years. If you drive by my house, you might pass it because it still has a nasty roof we need to tear off and rebuild. We bought the house and are slowly tearing it apart and putting back together. But if you just drive by, you will never see the inside and how awesome it is since we got a hold of it.

I remember after we bought the house and starting tearing it apart, I heard from other family members what my brother had said- like what a disaster! what a crazy idea living there!! His wife too. They have NEVER remodeled anything or lived thru a remodel and I reminded them of that. But they love coming over and gushing about how awesome the house is now. FTR, they live in a 5 bedroom/ 6 bath mcmansion overblown house that is decorated to the hilt. I am on sensory overload from the various tv rooms, etc. But I know that this is something my brother has wanted for years and years. He works very hard, always has and does very good by his family. I am not saying he is better than us, or us better than him, but this is what he wanted and he got there on his own.

IF that is something we wanted, we would also have it. We dont. Just like they would never buy a house to redo which we love doing, we would never buy a mcmansion or build one.

We were both raised the same way, his values tends to more material items, my tends more to spiritual and design etc. Where we always feel more eccentric around him, they always feel more boxy, conservative etc around us. Their kids too. LOL His kids love our house/neighborhood with all the nooks crannies etc. My kids love running from room to room to room and all that crazy space there.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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